By John Tuerijama
NAMIBIAN athletes based in Jamaica will return home as soon as they wrap up their studies which also saw them attend an extensive training athletic programme in the Caribbean Island’s nation. Director of Sport in the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service Sivute Katamba told Confidente recently that the programme has not produced the required results after failing to produce athletes who could qualify for two major world athletic competitions such as the 2016 Olympic Games held in Brazil and the 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Australia. Katamba said that there were a number of hiccups that the athletes faced during their stay in Jamaica like receiving their allowances very late. In such instances they were fortunate to have the Jamaican government assisting them most of the times. “The money was not forthcoming from our side. The Jamaican authority assisted them but once they finish with their studies they [athlete] will have to return back home,” Katamba told this paper. He added that the programme will conclude in September 2019. The director of sport further said that the programme has so far not produced any tangible results but is confident that the athletes will successfully complete the training. “Apart from receiving athletic raining they are doing courses in sport and their selection was not based on their academic performance but were fortunate to do those courses,” he said. He said that another agreement is expected to be signed between Namibia and Jamaica that will see other athletes benefiting from the similar programme. “We will have to revisit the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to look at the shortcomings faced by the athletes. But I think it might also be unfair that we criticise the athletes in Jamaica for not having qualified for the major competitions while there are other athletes in the United States of America (USA) and other parts of the world,” said Katamba. He added that the Ministry has learnt important lessons from the Jamaican programme and hoped that other sport codes can also benefit from the same programme and not just athletic. The athletes trained with former Jamaican sprinters such as Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell. The sport management and journalism courses are given at the University of Technology of Jamaica. The course forms part of the Vision 2016 athletics programme, implemented several years ago by the Ministry of Sport, which has seen Namibia’s top athletes training and competing in South Africa and Europe in recent years. Some of the athletes who formed part of the programmme and returned home are Hitjiverue Kaanjuka and Globine Mayova, female hurdles champion Lelanie Klaasman, 400m female champion Tjipekapora Herunga and males printer Dantago Gurirab. Jesse Urikhob, Kisha Kalomo and Gilbert Hainuka, are the athletes that are still in Jamaica.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015